Department of Agriculture
On May 14, the US Department of Agriculture made its final funding announcement under the round one of the ReConnect Program. Since October 2019, USDA has invested $744 million to bring high-speed broadband e-Connectivity to approximately 172,000 households, 19,000 rural small businesses and farms, and more than 500 health care centers, educational facilities, and critical community facilities located in 34 states.
The US Department of Agriculture is investing more than $500,000 to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in Iowa. In rural Iowa, Breda Telephone Corp. will use a $523,749 grant to deploy a Fiber-to-the Home (FTTH) network to connect 113 people, 20 farms and nine businesses in Arcadia, Iowa, in Carroll County to broadband e-Connectivity.
The US Department of Agriculture is investing $22.5 million for two recipients in Michigan to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas. These investments are part of USDA’s round one investments made through the ReConnect Pilot Program. The awards include an $11.8 million loan/grant combination to Barry County Services Company to provide affordable, fiber-based broadband services in rural Barry County. This project will extend broadband availability to 17 farms, 16 businesses and 12,000 residents spread over 127 square miles. Southwest Michigan Communications Inc.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will use the $100 million provided for the ReConnect Program in the CARES Act to invest in qualified 100 percent grant projects that did not receive funding in the program’s first round of ReConnect Program investments. Round one applicants who did not receive funding because there was broadband access in the proposed service area may submit an application during the second round to receive this priority as long as their proposed service area meets the requirements of the ReConnect Round 2 Funding Opportunity Announcement.
On December 12, 2019, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and solicitation of applications for the Broadband Pilot (ReConnect) Program in the Federal Register. On March 31, 2020, RUS published a Notice in the Federal Register to extend the application window to April 15, 2020.
The Rural Utilities Service extended the ReConnect second-round application window until midnight, based on the time zone the applicant is located in, on April 15, 2020.
The US Department of Agriculture invested $28 million in high-speed broadband infrastructure for more than 17,000 rural households in Virginia. Central Virginia Electric Cooperative will use a $28 million ReConnect Program loan and grant combination to construct a fiber-to-the-premises network encompassing 704 square miles.
The US Department of Agriculture invested $19 million in three, high-speed broadband infrastructure projects that will create or improve rural e-Connectivity for almost 7,000 rural households, 46 farms, 32 pre-subscribed businesses, 19 critical community facilities and 15 educational facilities in rural Texas.